Continuing on with the CalvinAyre.com innovation in iGaming series, today we’ll focus is on a Fantasy Sports startup company, PRO Draft League, founded by a Canadian ex-professional poker pro Mark Tadros.
Prior to launching PRO Draft League, Tadros studied political science, spent a few years grinding through millions of online hands as a professional poker player and worked in business development for a company specializing in international transport regulations. Tadros’s Fantasy Sports for Real Money idea was born in Vancouver—an idea that materialized into PRO Draft League after he linked up with tech experts who were interested in making the concept a reality.
I invited Tadros for an interview to learn more about the PRO Draft League story.
Becky Liggero: Thank you for joining me today, Mark. Let’sstart with you explaining the basic concept behind PRO Draft League.
Mark Tadros: PRO Draft League is Fantasy Sports for Real Money. What we’ve done is taken that exciting event of drafting your fantasy team with your friends and converted it to an easy to use online experience. While we do offer Season Long contests we’ve also added Daily and Weekly contests so you can draft a brand new team every single day, and what really makes PRO Draft League cool is that we allow our users to play for Real Money! Welcome to the PROs!
Becky Liggero: Welcome indeed! Tell me the story behind the concept.
Mark Tadros: When I moved to Vancouver in late 2011, I participated in a draft with some friends from back home via Skype. Needless to say, the process of trying to communicate via web portal with ten guys drinking beers and arguing about which sports hero they preferred made for a very difficult draft on my end [laughs]. So I decided there had to be a better way and created prodraftleague.com where you can challenge your friends to a draft or simply join an upcoming contest with the thousands of members in our online community.
Becky Liggero: So you identified a need in the market based on observation. That’s excellent. You’ve got a great concept but what are the technological advantages of PRO Draft League that separate the platform from competitors?
Mark Tadros: Well, we built the entire software from scratch and I think the flexibility of the design will end up being the most important advantage in the long term but as of today we have 3 unique factors that really differentiate us; The first is that we offer daily, weekly, and seaso-long contests, whereas our competitors only offer one or the other. The second is that we created a live, interactive draft room, which allows our users to see who their opponents are drafting in real time driving the user experience to whole new level. And the third, well I can’t tell you about the third just yet… but were bringingsomething incredible to Fantasy Sports this summer!
Becky Liggero: I love the idea of an interactive trading room. I also admire your social media strategy. Can you tell me about the social media presence that you’ve built around PRO Draft League and why it has been successful?
Mark Tadros: We do our best to keep our social media presence on the pulse of Fantasy Sports and provide player content to our fans. I highly recommend launching your brand’s social media campaign months before you’re ready to go live. It’s a great way to pick up users and create a buzz around the products or services you’re offering. By the time we were ready to go live we already had 5000 fans who were instrumental in our beta launch and really helped get us off the ground. Today with 30 000+ fans we love hosting cool giveaways to give back to our users and show them how much we appreciate them. Like us on Facebookat www.facebook.com/prodraftleague and follow us on Twitter@prodraftleague to get in on this summer’s awesome PS4 giveaway! #SpoilerAlert
Becky Liggero: Haha! I love it.So before signing off, I know a large percent of your user base is American, what is the government’s stance on products such as yours?
Mark Tadros: I would say 90 percent of our user base is American and that’s what makes our business model so exciting! We built the entire software around some key legislative rules from the UIGEA in 2006 designed to eliminate the element of chance in our games, giving us federal approval to operate our business as a game of skill. We also accept players from around the world so if you’re looking to try Fantasy Sports for Real Money you can register for free at www.prodraftleague.com.
Becky Liggero: Good stuff, Mark. I’m a big fan of global offerings, especially when it comes to sports. Thanks so much for joining me today and best of luck with your new venture.